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What is the Difference Between Murder and Wrongful Death?

Information from a Wrongful Death Lawyer St. Paul MN Families Rely On

Wrongful Death Lawyer St. Paul MN

When a human life was lost due to the negligent or wrongful acts of another individual or entity, a wrongful death lawyer in St. Paul, MN at Johnston Martineau, PLLP considers that a wrongful death case. Our legal team can help clear up the grey area between murder, manslaughter, an accident, and wrongful death when it comes to a loved one having passed away. 

A common question people ask is: What is the difference between wrongful death and murder? 

A St. Paul wrongful death lawyer in MN understands that if someone dies of unnatural causes, their loved ones may want to seek restitution for their death. They may want to know if their loved one was murdered and if they can sue for a wrongful death case with the help of a wrongful death lawyer in St. Paul MN. Though they can overlap, the differences between murder and wrongful death depend on the type of case, the evidence that is needed, and the punishment.

Murder: Murder is a criminal act and as such, charges are usually filed by the state against the accused murderer. A murder trial is held in a criminal court. If the defendant is found to be “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt”, then the most common punishment for the defendant is a prison sentence. Whether or not the accused is found guilty, it is possible for the victim’s family to file a wrongful death claim against them with the assistance of a St. Paul MN wrongful death lawyer

Perhaps the most famous example of this scenario is the wrongful death claim that the Goldman family filed against O.J. Simpson for the murder of their son. A wrongful death lawyer in St. Paul, Minnesota can advise you as to whether or not you have grounds to file a wrongful death claim against someone you believe murdered your loved one.

Wrongful Death: A wrongful death case is one in which a person or business is accused of causing someone’s death because of their wrongful actions or negligence. Wrongful death trials are held in civil court with legal guidance provided by a St. Paul MN wrongful death lawyer. For the defendant to be held responsible for causing the victim’s death, the jury must find them “guilty by a preponderance of the evidence.” That means that the defendant was likely guilty of causing the victim’s death. If found guilty, the defendant usually must pay damages to the deceased’s surviving family members.

Our St. Paul MN wrongful death lawyer can determine which damages you can claim. A wrongful death is when someone dies because someone else acted negligently or maliciously. The victim may have died because the other person acted negligently but did not intend for the victim to die, or they may have intentionally killed them and not in self-defense.

Examples of Wrongful Death Cases

For another person to be liable for wrongful death, it has to be shown that the accused had a duty of care to the deceased person, and failed to uphold this obligation which led to the death. A St. Paul, MN wrongful death lawyer at Johnston Martineau, PLLC is familiar with these common examples of wrongful death cases that do not involve murder:

#1 Car Collisions

Another driver or the car manufacturer can be blamed for a wrongful death case resulting from a car accident. If the driver of the other vehicle acted negligently or disobeyed traffic laws, they could be held responsible. The car manufacturer could be at fault if the car malfunctioned and caused a fatal accident.

Every year in America, almost a half a million lives are lost because of car accidents, while those who survive are left with a long journey to recovery. After these accidents, here at Johnston Martineau, PLLP, our wrongful death lawyer in St. Paul MN understands that the surviving family may be left behind to financially struggle when paying for their loved one’s medical bills, rent, and other necessities for living. Factors of car collisions often entail the following:

  • Drunk driving
  • Speeding
  • Driving recklessly
  • Road defect
  • Construction 
  • Auto defects

#2 Motorcycle Accidents

Those who ride motorcycles may get hit by a car driver who wasn’t paying enough attention to the road. Because riders do not have much protection besides the gear they are wearing, a motorcyclist is more vulnerable to life-threatening injuries or immediate death from the impact. If your loved one passed due to a motorcycle accident, please reach out to a wrongful death lawyer in St. Paul at Johnston Martineau, PLLP without hesitation for the compassionate and strategic support you need during this time. 

#3 Truck Accidents

The average commercial truck can weigh around 50,000 pounds or more. By drastic contrast, the standard passenger vehicle may weigh 3,000-4,000 pounds. If a car and truck were to collide, the car driver is already at a loss just due to the sheer difference in weight. Those in the normal sized vehicle are much more likely to endure serious physical injury or death. Some of the contributing elements of truck accidents that may require the help of a St. Paul MN wrongful death lawyer include: 

  • Trucker fatigue
  • Speeding
  • Mechanical problems
  • Negligence from truck company
  • Driving under the influence
  • Too aggressive driving
  • Failing to follow the rules of the road

#4 Defective Products

While manufacturers usually work hard to only release products that are safe for use by the public, there are times when they fail to do so. Examples of wrongful death cases that can be caused by defective products include toxic foods and containers, defective machinery, dangerous child products, and pharmaceuticals.

#5 Medical Malpractice

One example of medical malpractice that can result in the need for a St. Paul MN wrongful death lawyer is when a doctor delays treating a patient when they need immediate medical attention. Another example of wrongful death caused by medical malpractice would be if a doctor performed a fatal surgical error or if a doctor misdiagnosed a patient’s terminal illness that could have been successfully treated or diagnosed by a different doctor.

#6 Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

If an elderly person in care of nursing home staff died because of abuse or neglect, the nursing home and its staff could be found at fault. If you have ever seen bruises or other symptoms related to mistreatment on your senior loved one prior to passing away, it is imperative that you contact a St. Paul Minnesota wrongful death lawyer immediately for help. 

Contact Johnston Martineau, PLLP For Dedicated Legal Support

When someone wins a wrongful death case, the damages are awarded based in large part on the wages that the deceased would have likely earned in the future. In addition to their future income, retirement benefits and other damages might be included in the jury award. Here at Johnston Martineau PLLP, our St. Paul MN wrongful death lawyer can provide you with more information specific to your situation. Call us today to request a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

Pursuing legal action against the party at-fault for a loved one’s wrongful death, is often at the forefront of every surviving family member’s mind. We can only imagine the pure anguish and grief you are currently going through. A Minnesota wrongful death lawyer in St. Paul at Johnston Martineau, PLLC can work relentlessly to achieve the sense of justice you are looking for, so please call today for a free consultation!

A DUI driver killed my loved one—what are my legal options?

The tragedy of losing a loved one to a DUI driver can be inconsolable, our wrongful death lawyer that St. Paul MN families rely on has a compassionate understanding of this. Under these types of circumstances, families often want to seek justice for their loved one, and rightfully so. In addition, their loved one may have left dependent children behind. In the immediate aftermath of the accident, the victim may have undergone unsuccessful medical treatment which has left loved ones with significant, unpaid bills. Johnston Martineau, PLLP, St. Paul MN wrongful death lawyers you can trust, has represented many families and individuals whose loved ones were killed in avoidable accidents that were caused by negligent or reckless persons. With the help of wrongful death lawyer in St. Paul MN, you too have a chance to recover damages from the drunk driver who killed your loved one. Though a settlement cannot return your loved one, it can create a legacy for their children and make it possible for the family to recover financial damages. Call our office in St. Paul Minnesota today to request a free consultation to learn how Johnston Martineau, PLLP can help you get justice for your loved one.

What is a wrongful death suit?

When someone is killed in an avoidable accident, under certain circumstances a close family member can file a lawsuit against the responsible party help of our St. Paul MN wrongful death lawyer. As a result, the plaintiff (the victim’s family member who pursues the lawsuit) may receive a large settlement from the defendant (the responsible party) after a successful trial. Our trusted St. Paul MN wrongful death lawyer is a successful litigator who can take your case to court.

A wrongful death suit is a civil suit, not a criminal proceeding. If the defendant is found guilty in a wrongful death suit they will be obliged to pay the plaintiff a financial award. They will not be sent to prison as a result of a guilty verdict, but if the state of Minnesota chooses, they can pursue criminal charges against the DUI driver notwithstanding civil litigation pending against the driver. In this way, the driver could be found guilty in a criminal trial and be subject to prison time, in addition to being found guilty in a civil trial and be obligated to pay the plaintiff a settlement. Talk to our wrongful death lawyer from St. Paul MN about your legal options in light of the driver’s actions which fatally injured your family member.

Who can file a wrongful death suit?

The Courts dictate who can file a wrongful death suit on behalf of a deceased victim. When you consult our wrongful death lawyer in St. Paul MN, you can inquire as to whether or not you are eligible. In general, those eligible to file a wrongful death suit are in the following order

  • The victim’s financially dependent spouse.
  • The victim’s financially dependent child or children.
  • The victim’s financially dependent parent(s) or sibling(s).

What types of damages can be recovered by a successful wrongful death suit?

With the help of a St. Paul MN wrongful death lawyer, you may be able to recover costs for medical treatment, funeral costs, lost wages that the deceased might have earned until retirement, loss of companionship, and much more.

If you lost your loved one to a DUI driver, contact us at Johnston Martineau, PLLP to speak with our St. Paul MN wrongful death lawyer during a complimentary consultation to learn more about your legal options.

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